Summary: Looking at the baptism of Jesus, this sermon explores many of life’s questions that are answered by the relationship to God established at our baptism.
Luke 3: 15 – 17; 21-22 – Answers To A Questioning Heart
Intro: Recently, when I was having my hair cut, one of the hairdressers made an off-color remark using a profanity. One of the patrons to whom I had just been introduced as a pastor quickly remarked to her, “There’s a preacher here! What must he think?” (I thought to myself, “He thinks that obviously that woman doesn’t know this preacher well!”) As a pastor, that is a question you hear often. Another is, “What would your congregation think?” Life seems to be full of questions.
If you use email at all, I’m sure you have received an email from a friend that contains a whole list of questions wanting information about you. Questions like, “What is your favorite color? What are you wearing right now? What kind of car do you drive?” Those questions are easy to answer; but, life comes with a whole other set of questions that aren’t so easy. Questions that every pastor would like to ask the members of his or her church. Questions like: “What do Presbyterians believe? Why do you go to church? Why are you a Christian? Who are you?”
I. At one point or another, we have all asked ourselves questions like: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I headed? I often wonder if perhaps during his youth, Jesus asked himself similar questions.
A. What did his earthly parents tell him about the circumstances of his birth? Did they tell him about the shepherds, the star and the three kings?
B. Was the childhood of Jesus different? Did he know from the beginning who he was and what was to happen? Was his the life of a typical Hebrew boy in a small town?
C. The only childhood story about Jesus recorded in the Bible tells of the boy Jesus at the Temple. In Luke 2:49, Jesus asked his parents questions. “Why were you searching for me?” --- Did you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
II. Questions! --- The voice of prophecy had been silent for more than 400 hundred years. The rise of John the Baptist meant more to his people than war or revolution. It meant God had not forgotten them. John prophesied a people anxious for any word from God.
A. Verse 15 – The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possible be the Christ.
B. John’s people had questions also. Are you the Christ? Should we look for another?
C. John spoke of another who would baptize with fire and who would come with a winnowing fork to separate good from bad. Don’t you imagine the people questioned? Which am I? How will we know? When will this be?
III. Theologians through the centuries have questioned. If Jesus were the perfect Son of God, why did he submit himself to baptism? He had no need to have sins washed away, he was sinless. Why?
A. Maybe he did it to please his mother. John was his cousin and he knew John’s prophecy was important to him and his people. --- I think it was a turning point in the life of Jesus. It was a hinge upon which his whole life turned.
B. The heart of the story is the voice from heaven in verse 22 (quoting Psalm 2:7). The coming of the Spirit upon Jesus commissioned and empowered him for his ministry. That voice answers the “who am I” and the “Where am I headed?” questions for Jesus.
C. In submitting himself to John’s baptism, Jesus experiences God’s grace and finds identity and affirmation.
Conclu: As baptized believers in Christ Jesus, two answers from a questioning heart come to us. For, we also experience God’s grace, find identity as a child of God and are affirmed as an important person. We KNOW WHO we are, God’s child and we KNOW WHERE we are headed (into full relationship with God). Nothing else really matters.